RFID card access has been around for decades. Radio Frequency Identification can be traced back to the 40s, where it was used to track and identify objects in WWII. It first became a commercial application for access control and identification in the 70s. It picked up in the 80s as a way to track goods and manage inventory in manufacturing and logistics. In the 2000s it became an inventory management tool in retailers. It continues to improve and advance all the time. Improvements continue to occur in tag design, read ranges and data processing capabilities.
As the technology advances, so does its application in security and access control. RFID tags are small devices that consist of a microchip and an antenna. The chip stores information and the antenna allows communication to readers via radio waves. Readers emit radio frequency signals, activating passive tags within its range. When a tag is within range, it absorbs energy from the radio signal to power the microchip.
Passive tags don’t have a power source and rely on energy emitted by RFID reader to power the chip and antenna.
Active tags have a power source (such as a battery) and can transmit over longer distances.
Semi-passive tags also have a power source, but rely on the reader’s energy.
Once activated, the RFID card or tag modulates the radio frequency signal and reflect it back at the reader. The signal carries the info from the chip such as a UID (unique identifier) or other data specific to the object. The reader captures the modulated signal and interprets it to compare to database information. Frequencies can run on various frequencies; low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF), all providing different read ranges.
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